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Cystic Fibrosis: Prescriptions

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 51798, tabled on 20 September 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will make it her policy to provide free prescriptions to people with cystic fibrosis; and if she will consider the potential merits of ensuring that all people with long-term health conditions have access to free prescriptions.

Answered on

27 September 2022

There are no current plans to review or extend the prescription charge medical exemptions list to include cystic fibrosis or other long-term conditions. Approximately 89% of prescription items are dispensed free of charge in England and there are arrangements in place to help those with the greatest need. Eligibility depends on the patient’s age, whether they are in qualifying full-time education, whether they are pregnant or have recently given birth, or whether they are in receipt of certain benefits or a war pension. Those with cystic fibrosis or another long-term condition may therefore meet the eligibility criteria for prescription charge exemptions and be in receipt of free prescriptions.

To support those who do not qualify for an exemption of prescription charges, the cost of prescriptions can be capped by purchasing a prescription pre-payment certificate, which can be paid for in instalments. A holder of a 12-month certificate can get all the prescriptions they need for just over £2 per week. Additionally, people on a low income who do not qualify for an exemption from prescription charges can also seek help under the NHS Low Income Service, which provides help with health costs on an income-related basis.